VORONEZH, March 10 (RIA Novosti) – Hundreds of people rallied in a village of Russia’s Voronezh region Sunday protesting against the projected launch of nickel and copper mining ventures.
The demonstration gathered at Novokhopersk, a village of some 10,000 people, to protest against the plan to start a copper-nickel mine in the southern region.
The police put the number of demonstrators at 1,400, while the event organizers said at least 5,000 people from several regions showed up.
Last year, the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company (UMMC) won rights to the two region’s nickel deposits, opened between 1970 and 1980. But local residents, backed by Cossacks and environmentalists, have been protesting the project since last spring citing fears that it would threaten the region’s unique environment and contaminate its agricultural land.
The Sunday rally approved a resolution asking the country’s leadership asking to ban the mining plan.
In January, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sergei Donskoi said that it might be put up for a public discussion and assured that the ministry would urge the company to meet all environmental standards.